What is a 'Blacklist'

A blacklist is a list of persons or organizations that are penalized because they are believed to engage in unfavorable or unethical activity. A blacklist may be maintained by any entity, ranging from a small business enterprise to an inter-governmental body. Depending on the scope of the blacklist, it may either be secret or public.

A common misconception concerns the purported existence of a "credit blacklist" to deny loans to consumers with poor or spotty credit histories. The reality is that creditors and lending agencies rely on the consumer's credit history rather than a blacklist to guide their loan decisions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Blacklist'

The negative effects of being blacklisted can be quite considerable, with huge inconvenience being the least of them; the more severe effects include loss of credibility and goodwill, a decline in business and clients and financial hardship.

An example of a secret blacklist includes the "No-Fly List" maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which lists people who are not permitted to board a commercial flight to travel into or out of the United States. An example of a public blacklist is the list of countries maintained by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which lists countries that the FATF considers to be uncooperative in the global effort against money laundering and terrorist financing.

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